The Modus Operandi

The hallmark of PieceWork always has been its unique examination of the amazingly rich history of needlework. What you may not know is that, in addition to a variety of projects, we include step-by-step technical information—the modus operandi. Take a look at two examples from previous issues.

Fringe forever daunted me. That was until Galina Khmeleva offered these step-by-step photographs for adding fringe to a knitted scarf (May/June 2010). Photographs by Galina Khmeleva.

Step 1 Step 2 Step 3
Step 4 Step 5 Step 6
Step 7 Step 8 Detail of fringe.

I tried it, I liked it, I've gone fringe mad!

The stunning but tricky technique of shading embroidery stitches plays an integral role in various forms of needlework. Diane Horschak provided the how-to (May/June 2006).

Outline of pattern.
Figure 1

You will need three values of the same color of Japanese flat silk embroidery thread, size 7 and size 8 Japanese needles, Japanese size 1 imitation gold thread, a frame, and ground fabric.

After transferring the outline of the pattern to the center of the fabric, lightly draw the interior stitching guidelines of the pattern on the fabric. All stitches begin with a knot on the back and one pinhead stitch and end all threads with two pinhead stitches.

1st Row: Alternate long and short stitches from the design's center guideline to each side, using 2 strands of the darkest shade of silk in the size 8 needle. Leave enough space between the stitches to accommodate the stitches of the 2nd row. (Figure 1.)

2nd Row: Use 1½ strands of silk in the medium shade in the size 8 needle and stitch parallel to the guidelines. Bring the needle up just right of the center guideline and about ? inch (3 mm) below the bottom of the 1st stitch of Row 1; take the needle down through the middle of the short stitch of Row 1. (Figure 2.)

Rows 3–6: Use 1 strand of silk in the size 7 needle; decrease the thickness of the silk to ½ strand for Rows 5 and 6.

Row 3: With the medium shade of silk, start at the center guideline and pierce the middle of the long stitches of Row 1.

Figure 2

Figure 3

Row 4: With the lightest shade of silk, start at the center guideline and pierce the middle of the long stitches of Row 2.

Row 5: With the lightest shade of silk, start at the center guideline and pierce the middle of the long stitches of Row 3.

Row 6: With the darkest shade of silk, start at the center guideline and pierce the middle of the long stitches of Row 4.

Using 1 strand each of the flat silk and the gold thread in the needle together, work the base of the petal in diagonal satin stitch. (Figure 3.)

Voila—this is so beautiful. I've tried silk shading—I need a lot more practice!

Only PieceWork combines the history of needlework and the people behind the work, stunning projects, and in-depth how-to techniques. You'll be intrigued; you'll be engaged; you'll encounter that sometimes illusive modus operandi. I'm looking forward to welcoming you as a PieceWork subscriber!

Enjoy,